One Photomatix Pro license entitles you to install and register Photomatix Pro on other computers you use. The same applies to Photomatix Essentials, the Photomatix HDR plugin for Aperture, Photomatix for Linux, and the Tone Mapping Plugin for Photoshop.
However, your Photomatix license is limited to one user. You will need to buy an additional license if you wish to install and register the software for another user (unless the other user is your spouse or close family member, as we make an exception in such cases).
In the case of Photomatix Pro, Photomatix Essentials and the Tone Mapping Plugin for Photoshop, your license also entitles you to install and register the software on both Windows and Mac computers. If you bought a license for Photomatix Pro for Windows, for instance, you may install the Windows and Mac versions of Photomatix Pro, and register both with the same license key. See the FAQ on cross-platform licensing for more details on this.
Our reseller BlueSnap emails your license information immediately after your payment has been processed. If you didn't receive this email, it may be due to a delay on the reseller's server or because the email was caught in spam filters.
Yes if you purchased a license when Photomatix Pro was at version 3.2 or older. Please see the upgrade information form.
If you purchased the license via the HDRsoft.com website, you can use the license key resending form to have your license key automatically resent to you. Alternatively, you can contact the Photomatix Support Team.
Your computer doesn't need to be online to install Photomatix, as long as you have another computer with an Internet connection where you can download the software. You would then copy the downloaded file on a flash drive, USB key or other type of removable drive and transfer it to the computer without Internet access.
Here are instructions on how to do this depending on your platform:
Yes. In fact, you do not need to switch your license, as one Photomatix Pro or Photomatix Essentials license allows you to install the software on another computer, regardless of its platform as explained above.
The license key you received after purchase registers both the Windows and Mac versions of the software, except in two cases: If you purchased a Photomatix Pro license before April 2007, or a license of the Tone Mapping Plugin for Photoshop sold separately (i.e. outside of the bundled product). In these two cases, you will need to contact us to request the license key for the other platform.
When ordering online, you will see two separate purchase buttons depending on whether the license is for the Windows or Mac version of the software, even though the license is valid for both. Knowing which platform you intend to use the software on helps us better support you, but doesn't restrict your rights to register Photomatix on both Windows and Mac computers.
Photomatix Pro is available for both Windows and Mac, but not for Linux at the moment. The same applies to Photomatix Essentials.
Photomatix for Linux is a product separate from Photomatix Pro and Photomatix Essentials, and therefore requires a different license.
However, we are making an exception in two cases. If you purchase a Photomatix Pro license and wish to use Photomatix on both a Windows/Mac and Linux OS, you are eligible for a free Photomatix for Linux license. The same applies if you purchased a Photomatix Pro license before Photomatix for Linux was released (10 July 2016). Please contact our support if you are in one of these two cases.
You can upgrade to the latest version by downloading it from the download page and installing it on your computer. If you are on Windows, it is better to uninstall your current version of Photomatix before installing the new one.
If you want to be notified when new major versions are released, you are welcome to subscribe to our announcements.
The upgrade to Photomatix Pro version 6 is free of charge for customers who purchased a license of Photomatix Pro version 5.0 or higher. If you need a new license key, please see the upgrade information page.
A Photomatix Pro 6 license purchased from the HDRsoft.com website allows you to upgrade for free to all sub-versions of Photomatix Pro 6.
If you purchased a license of Photomatix Pro version 5, you can upgrade for free to version 6, provided the license was purchased through the HDRsoft.com website or legitimate resellers (Photomatix Pro 5.0 was released at the end of November 2013).
A Photomatix Essentials license allows you to upgrade for free to all future versions of the software.
A license of the Photomatix Plugin for Aperture or Tone Mapping Plugin for Photoshop guarantees at least two years of free upgrades after purchase, but it is possible you will get all upgrades for free. We haven't charged for upgrades to new versions of these plugins yet, and don't have plans to at the moment.
To upgrade to the latest version, please see the above question.
Yes. You can purchase a license of Photomatix Pro for the US$60 cost difference. Please use the automated Upgrade to Photomatix Pro form to access the upgrade pricing.
Please download the software from our website to transfer Photomatix to your new computer. To do this, go to the download page, and install the downloaded software on your new computer.
If your new computer is not connected to the Internet, see the above instructions to install on an offline computer.
You can find the latest versions of our software on the download page.
If you need to download older versions, you will find these listed at bottom of the download page of the product you wish to download. If your reason for downloading the older version is because you cannot find a feature anymore, please contact the Photomatix Support Team for help with finding the feature in the new version.
If you have a license for Photomatix Pro, it is possible to remove the 'Photomatix' watermark from photographs processed when the software was still in trial mode, but only if the resulting image was not post-processed or double tone mapped.
Here are instructions for removing the watermarks:
If you have a license for Photomatix Essential or the Aperture plugin, you can use the trial of Photomatix Pro to remove the watermark as detailed above.
If you have a license of the Merge to 32-bit HDR plugin, it is not possible to remove the watermark. So, you will have to merge the photos again with a different name for the merged file, and then copy the settings from the version with the watermark to the version without it.
Important note: The removal of the watermark requires that the image was not retouched after the watermark was added to it. If you altered the image - by changing the brightness or contrast, cropping, resizing, etc. - then Photomatix will not be able to remove the watermark anymore.
Yes. Uninstalling Photomatix Pro only removes the components of the software, not your licensing information. The Windows version of Photomatix Pro stores this information in your registry (HKEY_CURRENT_USER) and the Max OS X version in your preferences (com.hdrsoft.photomatixpro.plist).
If you wish to unregister Photomatix Pro as well as remove its default settings, please proceed as follows depending on your computer platform:
~/Library/Preferencesin the box.
com.hdrsoft.photomatixpro.plistand move it to the Trash.
~/Library/Preferences(where '~' is your User directory).
Photomatix Essentials is particularly easy to use and intended for photographers new to HDR.
Photomatix Pro offers more options for adjusting HDR Photos and includes advanced features such as batch processing and selective deghosting. It also offers presets intended for real-estate photography, as well as a Plugin for Adobe Lightroom.
Photomatix Essentials and Pro share the same internal HDR processing engines, but their interfaces differ. Photomatix Essentials focuses on simplicity, providing an easy-to-use introduction to HDR, while Photomatix Pro offers more options and features.
If you buy a license for Photomatix Essentials, you can upgrade to Photomatix Pro later on for just the price difference between the two products.
No, it is definitely illegal.
You will almost certainly get a stolen license key if you purchase Photomatix on eBay. You will for sure get a stolen license key if you purchase a so-called "Open Box" of Photomatix Pro on Amazon when it is delivered without a box. You will also receive a stolen license key if you purchase on Craigslist or websites selling cheap software.
Please don't buy Photomatix from such sellers. Not only would you be rewarding thieves, but you wouldn't be able to get the free upgrades you would otherwise be entitled to.
Purchases made from sources other than our website or legitimate resellers are made at the buyer's risk and we assume no liability for those purchases.
If you already purchased from a fraudulent reseller on Amazon or another reputable place, we recommend that you report the fraud to Amazon and request a refund.
Photomatix Pro and Photomatix Essentials are standalone applications, and therefore don't need Photoshop or another application to run.
Images you create with Photomatix Pro or Photomatix Essentials are compatible with any image editing software. This means you can open and further process them in Photoshop if you need to.
Additionally, Photomatix Essentials is also available as a Plugin for Photoshop Elements. Note that a Photomatix Pro license includes Photomatix Essentials.
Yes. The Photomatix Plugin for Lightroom works fine in Lightroom 6 / CC.
Photomatix Pro and Essentials create HDR images from bracketed photographs, while Photos Extensions are designed to edit one image at a time.
However, Photomatix OneShot, the latest addition to the Photomatix family, works as Extension for Apple photos, offering Tone Mapping rendering on single images. See the Photomatix OneShot download page for further details.
Photomatix Pro and Essentials are standalone applications, and therefore run independently from Photoshop. Images created with Photomatix Pro or Essentials are compatible with Photoshop CC, as well as older versions of Photoshop.
The Tone Mapping plugin for Photoshop is compatible with Photoshop CC.
Yes, Photomatix Pro and Photomatix Essentials work fine on the 64-bit edition of Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10, and on 64-bit Mac OSes.
On Windows 10
On Windows 8
On Windows 7
On Windows Vista
On Mac OS X:
On both platforms:
Mac OS X platform:
Photomatix Pro 6.0 supports RAW files from the Canon 5D Mark IV, and Photomatix Essentials will support them in its next update.
Yes, Photomatix supports both compressed and uncompressed RAW files from the Sony a7R II.
Assuming the RAWs were shot in 14-bit mode, this is likely due to a bug introduced in Photomatix Pro version 5.1.1. The bug has been fixed in version 5.1.2, and you can upgrade to the latest version from the Photomatix Pro download page.
While the current versions of Photomatix Pro and Essentials do support RAW files from the Nikon D5300, D4S, D750 and D810, it only works with 14-bit NEF files, not with 12-bit ones.
We will fix this issue in a future version, but in the meantime you can avoid it by setting your NEF Preference to 14-bit instead. Another option is to convert your 12-bit NEF files to TIFF or JPEG in a program that supports them, and then load the converted files in Photomatix. This workflow has other advantages, as further detailed here.
Photomatix Pro and Photomatix Essentials load images in the following file formats:
Photomatix Pro and Photomatix Essentials saves final images as:
Photomatix Pro also supports 32-bit HDR image file formats:
Photomatix Pro and Essentials load RAW files from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Minolta, Fuji and Sigma, as well as Digital Negative (DNG).
If your camera model is recent, you may have to wait for a future version of Photomatix before it supports RAW files from your new camera.
The best way to check whether RAW files from your camera are supported is to try Photomatix with your RAW files. There is also a list of camera models supported by Photomatix Pro and Essentials, but it isn't exhaustive, which means that the latest Photomatix version may still support RAW files from your camera even if it is not on this list.
Photomatix works with photos taken under different exposures. To get good results, the exposures taken should cover the entire dynamic range of the scene.
For most outdoors scenes, you can cover the dynamic range by taking three photos separated by two EVs (i.e. two full stops), or five photos separated by one EV.
Many digital cameras include an Auto Exposure Bracketing option that makes the process of taking several exposures easier and faster. If you select Aperture Priority and then use Auto Exposure Bracketing, the camera will automatically take 3 or more shots at different exposure times when you press the shutter release button.
A camera offering Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) is therefore recommended for taking HDR pictures.
Note, though, that your camera's AEB option won't be much useful for HDR shots if the maximum it offers is 3 shots separated by less than one EV (for instance, 0.7 or 2/3 EV). In this case, you would have to change the exposure times manually if you want to capture the dynamic range of a high contrast scene.
To check the Auto Exposure Bracketing settings of a camera and whether it offers an AEB option, see the list of AEB settings per camera model.
A two-EV spacing is best for capturing images intended for HDR. However, a one-EV spacing is still OK if the camera can take 5 or more frames with Auto Exposure Bracketing.
You can still use Photomatix when you have a single image at your disposal. So, you won't necessarily need to derive "fake" exposures from your RAW file.
In any case, the range of "workable" exposures that can be extracted from a single RAW file is limited. If you are shooting a high-contrast scene, your results with a single RAW file won't be as good as with shots captured with different exposure settings.
There are three techniques for using Photomatix with one single exposure taken in RAW mode:
Technique # 3 often gives the best results and has the advantage of working with Exposure Fusion.
Regardless of the technique, it is important to keep the noise at a minimum at capture time if you want to get good results from a single-exposure capture. For this, set the lowest ISO possible (e.g. ISO 100) and expose for the shadows when taking the RAW image, i.e. overexpose your shot. Even though the histogram of your camera may indicate that highlights will be lost, you should still be able to recover them during RAW conversion (unless the scene is too high contrast, but then a single image won't be sufficient for good results with Photomatix).
The answer depends on your needs and preferences. It is better to first convert your bracketed RAW files, and then load the converted TIFF or JPEG files in Photomatix, in the following cases:
When you convert your RAW files to TIFF or JPEG before loading them in Photomatix, you should systematically disable sharpening, as sharpening should be applied on the final image, not before. You should also ensure the Black is set to zero.
If you are primarily interested in HDR/Tone Mapping, then you should also uncheck all tonal and exposure-related automatic settings. That is, set to zero the Exposure setting but also settings for Contrast, Shadow and similar.
If you are only interested in Exposure Fusion, then the reverse applies. It is better in this case to use the auto-settings of the RAW converter, or adjust them to your liking.
Note that if you have Lightroom and Photomatix Pro, you can directly integrate Lightroom's RAW conversion with Photomatix via the free Photomatix Plugin for Lightroom (if you are instead using the Photomatix Plugin for Aperture, the RAW conversion is done by Aperture when you invoke the plugin).
If you need to use the intermediary 32-bit HDR file for image based lighting in 3D or special effects software, then it is better to load RAW files directly in Photomatix. This will ensure a better linearity and accuracy of the intermediary 32-bit HDR file.
The total number of exposures that you need to shoot depends on the specific scene. Each scene is different in terms of its contrast or its dynamic range, that is, the exposure difference between the darkest areas (shadows) and the brightest areas (highlights) within the scene.
In every scene, you must shoot enough exposures to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene, which includes everything from the darkest areas in shadow to the areas in bright light.
The total number of exposures required also depends on the Exposure Value (EV) spacing between each exposure, as detailed in the next section. If you shoot your bracketed set of exposures in 1 EV steps (e.g., -1, 0, +1 EV), you will need more exposures to capture the entire dynamic range of a scene than if you shoot them in 2 EV steps (e.g., -2, 0, +2 EV). We recommend shooting in 2 EV steps (+/-2 EV) whenever possible.
Most high contrast scenes fall into one of the following two categories. A scene is considered high contrast when its dynamic range is too high for a camera’s sensor to capture in one photo.
Exposure Value (EV) is the value derived from an image’s shutter speed, aperture and ISO. A change of 1EV is also referred to as a change of one "stop".
When taking HDR bracketed photos, you should use a fixed Aperture and ISO, and adjust the shutter speed to change the EV.
Increasing by one EV doubles the amount of light hitting the camera's sensors, and decreasing by one EV halves it. For instance, you can capture a range of 9 EV with shutter speeds ranging from 1/250 to 1 second (assuming a fixed aperture and ISO). If you set your camera to +/-1EV step increments, you will need 9 frames to achieve that range. If you set it to +/-2EV, you will need 5 frames.
Use +/-2EV step increments if your camera has the ability to capture bracketed photos at 2 EV spacing. Using more than 2EV spacing, isn't recommended, though.
A 2EV spacing has several advantages compared to an 1EV spacing. It requires fewer shots to span the dynamic range, and therefore reduces the risk of ghosting in non-static scenes. It also reduces storage needs and makes for faster processing in Photomatix. On the other hand, an 1EV spacing -or lower- does have the advantage of better smoothing out noise when merging to an HDR image.
For average high contrast scenes (e.g., an outdoor landscape shot in the daytime with both sunlight and shadows), follow the steps listed below. For very high contrast scenes (e.g., an interior room with bright sunlight coming through a window), refer to the next section.
Capturing a particularly high contrast scene, such as a room's interior with a bright view through the window, requires to take all shots needed to capture both the darkest and brightest parts of the scene.
It is particularly important that the brightest image properly exposes the darkest part of the scene. Similarly, the darkest image should properly expose the brightest area of the scene.
The steps listed below apply to any scene with very high contrast. If you are taking real estate interiors with bright windows, see more specific instructions in the HDR tutorial for real estate photographers.
The dynamic range of the inside of a room with a view outside the window on a sunny day is particularly high, much higher than the dynamic range of a typical outdoor scene.
The key to getting a good result with such scenes is to take enough exposures to properly cover the dynamic range. In most cases, you will need at least five exposures spaced two EVs apart. If you take less, you may get washed-out highlights or noisy shadows due to "holes" in the coverage of the dynamic range.
The best way to make sure you have taken enough exposures is to measure the shutter speeds needed to cover the dark and bright part of your scene as detailed in the section on capturing a very high contrast scene.
Also, set the EV steps to +/- 2 if your camera allows it, but no more than 2 in order to ensure a "smooth" coverage of the dynamic range. If your camera doesn't allow more than a +/- 1 EV increments, remember that you will need more exposures than with a two-EV spacing.
When you then merge the shots to HDR in Photomatix Pro, we recommend trying both Exposure Fusion with the Fusion/Interior method and Tone Mapping with the Contrast Optimizer method.
You can access these methods via the Process and Method controls (located above the sliders on the Setting panel on the left). Alternatively, you can access Fusion/Interior with the 'Interior' preset and Contrast Optimizer with the 'Balanced' preset.
The Fusion/Interior method is particularly good at keeping a balanced and "photorealistic" look, while still preserving highlights.
This depends on the dynamic range of the scene, the characteristics of the source photos and the effect you want to achieve. Our recommendation is to try both. The table below lists the main pros and cons of both processes:
Can preserve details in shadows and highlights even when the dynamic range is particularly high
Offers large range of settings to adjust image to one's liking
Unprocessed HDR merged file can be saved
When source images are noisy, tone mapping often further increases noise
Effect of settings may vary depending on the image, making it necessary to adjust settings per image to achieve a consistent look
Fused image is close to the source photos, giving it a "natural" look
Fusing the images has the effect of reducing noise
Easy-to-understand process, not requiring much tweaking
Lack of local contrast when dynamic range is high, resulting in "flat-looking" image in some cases
When fusing photos, memory load increases with the number of source photos
The Tone Mapping method "Details Enhancer" enhances local details a lot. If the local details of your HDR image are noisy (you can easily see that in the HDR viewer), then the noise will be enhanced as well, unfortunately.
To avoid too much noise showing on the tonemapped image, make sure to check the "Reduce noise" box when merging the images.
However, it is always a good idea to ensure you are taking the photos in the best conditions to keep noise as low as possible. Here are two rules to follow for this:
When you process your images in Photomatix, you can reduce the effect of noise by using an Exposure Fusion method, such as Fusion/Natural (which you can also access by clicking on the 'Natural' preset). Processing your photos with Exposure Fusion can be an effective way of reducing noise, as the fused image will have less noise than the original source photos.
If you are using Photomatix with a single RAW image instead of multiple exposures, the chance of getting noisy results is higher. We therefore recommend to expose for the shadows by slightly overexposing your shot when you aren't taking bracketed exposures.
Assuming you are using the Details Enhancer method, try to increase the Smooth Highlights setting (under the "More Options" section), as this setting can be effective for reducing halos around objects placed against bright backgrounds. Other adjustments that may help are to lower the Strength or increase the Lighting Adjustments settings.
Another option is to use the Tone Compressor or Fusion/Natural methods, as they are free of halo artifacts. You can access these methods via the 'Photographic' and 'Natural' presets respectively. Fusion/Natural is particularly recommended if you are looking for natural-looking results.
Definitely. Photomatix does not require images in RAW format. Photomatix is designed to work with photos taken under different exposure settings, and works great when those images are JPEGs.
The important feature to look at in a camera is Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), the ability to automatically take three or more exposures, preferably in two EV steps. The higher the maximum EV step, number of auto-bracketed frames and frame rate speed, the better it is for HDR processing.
In the Photos app, choose File > Export to export the images to a folder. Then, load the exported images in Photomatix.
If you are using Photomatix Pro with a single image rather than bracketed photos, see the Photomatix OneShot Extension for Photos.
The settings added by Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) in XMP sidecar files are parameters of the Raw conversion engine of ACR. As Photomatix doesn't have access to the proprietary technology of ACR's Raw conversion engine, it cannot use information set by ACR in the XMP files.
The same applies to Adobe Camera Raw settings embedded in DNG files.
In order to preserve the edits you made in Adobe Camera Raw, you will have to convert your RAW or DNG files to TIFF, and then process the TIFF files in Photomatix. See above for more information on this workflow.
When you load RAW files directly into Photomatix, the Raw conversion is done by Photomatix, and the conversion process differs depending on the software doing it.
The Raw conversion used by Photomatix tries to extract as many pixels as possible from the original Raw data captured by your camera's sensors. For some camera models, this results in a width and height that are a few pixels more than the width and height you get when the Raw file is converted by other software.
To avoid this, you would need to convert your original RAW files first in Photoshop (or other Raw conversion software you are viewing the Raw file in), then load the converted TIFF or JPEG files into Photomatix. The pixel size of the images produced by Photomatix will then be same as the size of the source images.
Note that if you use the alignment option and need to overlay the Photomatix image with the original photos, you will have to leave the 'crop aligned images' box unchecked to ensure the size is not reduced.
Assuming you are referring to the Floating Point DNG format used to store the result of merging to HDR in Lightroom CC, then the answer is yes. When Photomatix merges bracketed photos to HDR, the merged image is in a Floating Point format (a.k.a 32-bit HDR format) that preserves all information from the merged photos.
By default, Photomatix doesn't save to disk the HDR image in Floating Point format after merging. Instead, it lets you directly edit the HDR image and then save the edited file. An edited HDR image can only be saved in non-HDR format, such as 16-bit TIFF or JPEG.
If you prefer to save the merged HDR image in Floating Point format before editing it, there are two ways to do that with Photomatix Pro:
A future version of Photomatix Pro will make it possible to save the 32-bit HDR image as Floating Point DNG, in addition to the existing Radiance, OpenEXR and 32-bit TIFF file formats.
The file size to consider for Photomatix is the size expressed in number of pixels, i.e. width X height. Since Photomatix has to decompress the images for processing, the compression factor of the input images does not make any difference in the ability to process large files.
The maximum file size (in number of pixels) that you can process with Photomatix depends on the following:
Additionally, it is important to note that there is an upper limit to the amount of RAM that is made available to applications like Photomatix. On Windows 32-bit, this limit is as low as 2 GB, regardless of your RAM. That is, it will still be 2 GB via virtual memory if you computer has less than 2 GB RAM, but it won't be more than 2 GB if your computer has 4 GB RAM (unless you enable the /3GB switch).
External memory fragmentation further limits the memory available to Photomatix, by making it impossible to allocate a contiguous block of memory large enough for the processing needed. External memory fragmentation is a problem on Windows OSes, particularly on Windows XP. It means that the system does not organize the available memory efficiently, making it unable to re-use the memory that Photomatix has released.
When you create a particularly large Radiance .hdr file in another application and want to tone map it in Photomatix Pro, you have the option to open the file in so-called "Preview" mode. This will load a low resolution version of the file, thereby avoiding saturating the memory available for the user interface when adjusting the tone mapping settings. The final process will then run in the background and apply the tone mapping settings to the full resolution file.
For an idea of the memory necessary to process your images, the following formulae give a rough estimate of the amount of memory (RAM) needed in number of bytes:
Merging bracketed photos to HDR:
width * height * (3 * (bit-depth/8) * numberOfImages + 6)
Tone Mapping with Details Enhancer a Radiance file (.hdr extension) opened in "Preview" mode with the Lighting Effects Mode box checked:
width * height * 18
This means that merging three 100 MegaPixels 16-bit images to HDR requires around:
100,000,000 * (3 * 2 * 3 + 6) = 2.4 GB
and tone mapping a 100 MegaPixels Radiance file with Details Enhancer (Lighting Effects Mode box checked) requires around:
100,000,000 * 18 = 1.8 GB
Photomatix processes the RGB values of your source images directly, without converting them to another color space. This means that images you create with Photomatix are in the same color space as the one specified by the ICC color profile of your source images.
When a color profile for the source images is available, Photomatix embeds it into the resulting tone mapped or fused image.
If you are using the Photomatix Plugin for Lightroom, note that Lightroom will first export your images to TIFF before Photomatix can load them. This means that Photomatix will use the color profile of the TIFF files created by Lightroom, which is Adobe RGB by default. To use another profile, see the Lightroom Plugin FAQ.
In the special case when you have saved as Radiance the unprocessed intermediary 32-bit HDR file before tone mapping, Photomatix saves the name of the color profile in the header of the Radiance file. If you then re-use the Radiance file for tone mapping in Photomatix Pro and the saved name is sRGB, AdobeRGB or ProPhoto RGB, Photomatix will generate the corresponding ICC profile and embed it in the tone mapped image.
Photomatix is color managed for the display, as well. This means it will show the correct color values based on the ICC profile of the image and the color profile set as display profile for your monitor.
On Mac OS X, the display profile is set under System Preferences->Displays->Color.
On Windows, it is under Settings->Control Panel->Display->Settings->Advanced->Color Management.
No, you can load the images in any order, regardless of their Exposure Value.
The process of merging to HDR makes it necessary to assign an exposure to each source image and Photomatix automatically retrieves the exposure information from EXIF data. When the images do not have EXIF data, Photomatix estimates the EVs based on the brightness level of the source photos. Photomatix Pro also offers the option to manually adjust the estimated EVs (unless the program is run in batch mode).
Both processes start from Low Dynamic Range (LDR) images taken under different exposures and both attempt to produce an LDR image that shows tonal details of the entire dynamic range captured by the multiple exposures.
The differences are in the processes involved. Exposure Fusion combines the source photos in such a way that highlight details are taken from the underexposed photos and shadow details from the overexposed ones. The fused image is therefore a weighted average of the source images.
Exposure Fusion has the advantage of being easy to understand and is familiar to photographers who are used to doing this process manually in image editing applications. Also, Exposure Fusion has the nice side effect of reducing noise.
HDR Tone Mapping is composed of two steps. The first step merges differently exposed photos to a 32 bits/channel unprocessed HDR image. Such image cannot be displayed properly on standard monitors, which is why a second step called Tone Mapping is necessary.
Tone Mapping consists of scaling each pixel of the HDR image, so that details in highlights and shadows show correctly on monitors and prints (these details are available in the unprocessed 32-bit image but not directly visible because of the low dynamic range of the display).
Tone Mapping algorithms vary from a simple gamma curve (which is close to what cameras are doing when converting 12-bit or 14-bit RAW data to JPEGs) to more complex operations commonly divided into two categories:
The main advantage of global mapping is fast processing. Local mapping requires longer processing times but is better at producing a "good-looking" photograph (which is because the human eye adapts to contrast locally). In Photomatix, the Tone Mapping methods named Details Enhancer and Contrast Optimizer belong to the category of local mapping and Tone Compressor to the category of global mapping.
Photomatix makes use of multi-threading in RAW conversion, image alignment, noise reduction, and processing with Details Enhancer, Contrast Optimizer, Tone Compressor, Fusion/Natural and Fusion/Interior methods.
However, it is important to note that most processes of Photomatix are memory-intensive, which means that multi-processor support may not speed up processing times as much as one may expect. For a memory-intensive process, the bottleneck regarding processing times comes from memory accesses rather than a high number of operations (as the processor has to stay idle for many cycles, waiting for data to be fetched in memory).
With Photomatix Essentials, the number of images you can merge is limited to 5. With Photomatix Pro, the number of images you can merge is unlimited.
No. Photomatix does not convert RAW files to JPEG for internal processing, and never did. It would not make sense to do this anyway, given that converting to JPEG would result in quality loss and add processing time.
When you load RAW files in Photomatix, the files are converted in linear space into an uncompressed image with 16 bits per color channel, i.e. 48 bits per pixel.
The only time Photomatix converts to JPEG is when you want to save the image created by Photomatix and choose to save it as JPEG. This applies to a tonemapped or fused image created by Photomatix, and not to the original image you loaded.
Yes, Photomatix can be used to combine two or more scans from the same film scanned under different exposure settings. You may also try with scanned slides, but it is better to do it with negatives, as the dynamic range for film's negatives is higher than for slides.
You will need to ensure that the scans have the same size before loading them in Photomatix. You will also need to check the "Align images" option in order to correct for possible mis-registration of the scans.
Normally, this is an issue that may happen when using Internet Explorer to download from secure websites.
If you are using Internet Explorer, there is fix described on this Microsoft page.
Another solution is to use a different browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) to download Photomatix.
If you are not using Internet Explorer when you are getting this error, please contact our technical support
Assuming you are running on Windows (if you are on Mac, please contact our support as such error would be unusual), this error can happen when fusing photos with the 32-bit edition of Photomatix Pro or Essentials. It may also happen with the 64-bit edition if your computer has less than 4 GB RAM.
If your computer has 4 GB RAM or more, check first that you are using the right edition of the software for your computer. If your OS is 64-bit (see above how to check this info), make sure that you are running the 64-bit edition of Photomatix. If the title bar of the main program's window ends with "32-bit" rather than "64-bit", then you are running the 32-bit edition and downloading the 64-bit one should then solve the issue.
If your OS is 32-bit or has less than 4 GB RAM, there may still be some workarounds to avoid the issue:
Lack of sharpness on HDR processed images is often due to the use of Shutter priority or Program mode instead of the recommended Aperture priority mode when bracketing shots.
If you set your camera to Shutter priority, the depth of field will change between the shots, and this will lead to inferior results on the combined image. There may also be vignetting issues, too.
It is important to set your camera to Aperture priority when shooting with Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB). This way, only the shutter time will vary, and the Aperture (and therefore depth-of-field) will remain the same.
If the final image looks less "sharp" or "crisp" than the preview, this is because the preview shows the image at a lower resolution than the resolution of photos from your camera. As the preview image is small, it can be displayed directly on screen, with one pixel in the preview corresponding to one pixel on your monitor.
The final image, however, is too large to show in its entirety at 100% resolution. So, whenever you are viewing the final image at a resolution lower than its full resolution, the image is downsampled, with one pixel on screen averaging several pixels in the original image. This downsampling has the effect of making the final image appear less sharp.
However, if the difference you are observing is not as described above, but is that the final image is substantially darker or lighter than the preview, this may happen with some images when using the Details Enhancer or Contrast Optimizer methods. If you are using the Details Enhancer method with the Lighting Effects mode box checked, then enlarging the preview (by clicking on the + magnifier icon) to a size close to its maximum should avoid the difference. It may also help to set the Black Point and White Point to their default values (0 and 0.25 respectively) and ensure the Micro-smoothing setting is higher than zero.
This question is only applicable to the Windows version of Photomatix Pro, as the presets location did not change in the Mac version.
In Photomatix Pro version 3 for Windows, presets you saved using the "Save Settings" feature where stored in the 'Presets' folder of the directory where you had installed Photomatix Pro. If you installed it in the default location (and assuming you installed on a C drive), then the presets are in this folder:
In Photomatix Pro version 4 and higher, presets are now stored in your Application Data directory instead of the installation directory of Photomatix Pro. So, to transfer your presets from version 3, you will have to move the XMP files in the above folder to the following location depending on your OS:
Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 10:
C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\HDRsoft\PhotomatixPro\Presets
<UserName> is the name of the user under which Photomatix Pro was installed.
|Method||Old name||New name||Changed in|
|Details Enhancer||Gamma||Brightness||Version 6|
|Luminosity||Tone Compression||Version 5|
|Microcontrast||Detail Contrast||Version 4|
|Smoothing||Lighting Adjustments||Version 4|
|Light Mode||Lighting Effects Mode||Version 4|
|Highlights Smoothness||Smooth Highlights||Version 4|
|Fusion/Natural||Brightness||Exposure Balance||Version 6|
|Sharpness||Local Contrast||Version 4|
|Contrast Optimizer||Midtone||Brightness||Version 6|
Photomatix alignment is supposed to work in all cases of mis-registration due to camera movements between the bracketed shots. However, it may be necessary to adjust some of the alignment settings for images that are particularly difficult to align.
To try other settings, click on "Show Alignment Settings" and uncheck the "Include perspective correction" box (or check it in case it was unchecked). If changing that option would still not make a difference, then try adjusting the 'Maximum shift' setting based on how much camera movement was involved.
If changing the alignment settings doesn't help, we would be grateful if you could contact our technical support to provide us with the images that Photomatix failed to align. This way, our engineers can use your images to reproduce the misalignment issue in order to investigate its cause and further improve the alignment algorithm. Note that even if adjusting the "include perspective correction" option solves the issue, we would still be very interested in getting your images, as our aim is to have Photomatix "guess" whether perspective correction is needed.
If you are on Windows and the error message makes reference to a process id and thread id and/or includes one of the following:
You can solve the issue by uninstalling and reinstalling the .NET Framework on your PC.
If you are on Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, an alternative is to download the special version of Photomatix that embeds the .NET Framework, and therefore should solve the issue. You can download this special version directly from one of the links below:
We recommend uninstalling all versions of Photomatix on your computer before installing the .NET Framework embedded version.
This error message means that you are running Photomatix at the same time you tried to install another version of it. To avoid the error, close any instance of Photomatix that is already open before installing another version.
Go to your Applications folder, locate the Photomatix Pro app file and move it to the Trash.
First of all, you will need to shoot each one of the panorama's angles of view at different exposures (for instance three exposures at 0, -2, +2 EV). Those exposures should remain the same for all of the angles of view of your panorama.
If your panorama software supports 32-bit HDR stitching, then you can use Photomatix to create 32-bit HDR image files in Radiance (.hdr extension) or OpenEXR (.exr extension) format that you will then load in the panorama software for stitching. Once the 32-bit HDR panorama has been stitched, you can open it in Photomatix Pro for tone mapping.
If your panorama software does not support 32-bit HDR stitching, there are two possibilities for integrating Photomatix inro your panorama workflow:
With the Stitch-then-HDR worflow, you will stitch a panorama for each exposure level and then merge those panoramas in Photomatix. If you shot your panorama frames at -2, 0 and +2EV, for instance, you will load all your -2 EV photos in your panorama software, stitch them and save the resulting -2EV pano. You will do the same for the 0 EV and +2 EV photos, then merge the -2, 0 and +2 EV pano images in Photomatix Pro.
Note that the Stitch-then-HDR workflow assumes the differently exposed panoramas are stitched the same way, i.e. using the same control points for each panorama. This can only work if your stitching software makes it possible to replicate the stitching parameters used for one panorama to another panorama, so that it can stitch the panorama at each exposure level exactly the same way. If this is not the case, you will have to use Photomatix prior to stitching, i.e. merging your bracketed shots for each one of the angle of views and then stitch together the resulting images.
The second type of workflow, HDR-then-Stitch, avoids multiple stitches per pano, which is an advantage if your pano is composed of a limited number of views. The drawback, however, is that this approach may not work well with the dynamic range increase techniques that take the most advantage of local contrast, especially the Details Enhancer method. Because local contrast is specific to a given view, those techniques produce images with different tone levels, making them more difficult to stitch.
We recommend the Batch Processing of Photomatix Pro when using the HDR-then-Stitch workflow.
You will need to check the "360º image" option to get rid of the seam that would otherwise appear when you tone map or fuse panoramas with Photomatix Pro.
If you are using Photomatix Pro, you can also check whether you are using its latest version via the 'Check for Upgrade' menu item. You can access it from the 'Help' menu on Windows and 'Photomatix Pro' menu on Mac.
The answer depends on the reason for changing your email address in our records of your purchase.
If it is because you expect to receive a newsletter when you purchase a license of Photomatix, then this won't happen automatically, as explained above. So, if you wish to get informed of new versions of our products, you will need to explicitly request it by subscribing to the Photomatix announcements. If you already subscribed with your old email address, then you would just need to subscribe again with the new one.
If you wish to change the email address in our records because you need to be resent your License Key, then please contact us mentioning your old email address.
Definitely. Please use the Technical Support Form and select 'Suggestion / Feature Request' for the type of query to let us know what your suggestions, ideas or feature requests are. Thank you in advance.
Yes. You can find the details on the academic pricing page.
Yes, as long as you install each version in a separate folder.
Photomatix is not available as an iPad app at the moment, but we are considering offering one in the future.
If you have suggestions or ideas for an edition of Photomatix that runs on the iPad, you are welcome to share them with us. You can submit your suggestions via the Technical Support Form, selecting "Suggestions / Feature Request" for the type of query.